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In the decidedly difficult 2016 Comte Armand's Clos des Epeneaux is a lovely wine in the making, though with a more lifted and energetic character, rather than a stern one. The nose offers aromas of black and red cherries, with cool herbal aromas and hints of oak and spice. The midweight palate is supple, rather than sinewy with loads of black and red fruits, savory earth notes and a cool, yet pungent sense of minerality on a deceptively long finish. John McIlwain
Honest Burgundy at this price is an increasingly rare bird these days. From two vineyards in Santenay with EcoCert certification, this bottle is all about bright strawberry and raspberry fruit, firm acidity and colored around the edges by a dusty mineral freshness. Also bear in mind, though bottled under screw cap, this is aged in older barrels about ten months. The wine needs a moment to uncoil and will benefit from a splash decant. But once it has had some air watch how quickly it disappears.
We are total suckers here for the white wines of Anne Morey and Domaine Pierre Morey. They are wines of elegance, intense focus and minerality and always in the absolute top echelon of white Burgundy year after year. But her reds, while not as coveted, are no less beautiful and the 2017 Monthelie villages is a stunner. At La Paulee de New York this year, in a room awash with legendary wines, this was a standout that outshone many grander bottles. The fruit is incredibly pure, with crackling red cherries. But the structure and texture is what is most appealing. Red Monthelie can be a bit hard in its youth, but this is open for business, with gentle tannins that don't obscure the dusty chalky mineral component. That said, there is more than enough material to age this for several years. First class wine! Sam Ehrlich
Anne Morey is best known for her brilliant and piercing white wines but her reds are no less lovely. "Clos du Chapitre" is from a parcel on the southeast edge of the village of Aloxe, separated from the first of the Corton Grand Crus by a distance roughly the same as a city block.
Barthod is in a handful of the truly ace growers of Chambolle-Musigny, making wines of terroir that have the ability to age for many years. Her Bourgogne Rouge "Les Bons Batons" is an outstanding bottle, year after year, and we feel fortunate to have a bit more this year to offer out. It comes from a single parcel just outside the village limits and presents real Chambolle character, full of red cherry fruit, dried roses, baking spice and a cool long finish. This will reward a couple of years in the cellar or give it a gentle decant for tonight! Sam Ehrlich
Nestled in between Richebourg and Romanée-Saint-Vivant and Echezeaux, Les Suchots is a premier cru break in the line of grands cru that runs from La Tache to Mazis-Chambertin, this is likely due to the small dip in the hillside that makes the climat cooler. But what a premier cru! The 2016 from Chantal Lescure is begulingly perfumed with aromas of tea roses, exotic spice, wild cherry, and a cool herbal topnote. The palate is lithe and racy with lovely flavors of red fruits and a game, with more of that Vosne spice and a fine grained structure that balances the lush fruit with bright acidity and framing tannins. This is delicious with a quick decanting, but should really shine with a few years in bottle. Gorgeous Suchots and attractively priced (relative to its neighbors). John McIlwain
The lieu-dit "Les Mombies" is situated downslope by the road with limestone clay soils. The 2017 Les Mombies is aromatically reticent on opening with notes of black tea, hedge fruits, and soil. With air it becomes more expressive with blackberry, Italian plum, and game. The mid-weight palate offers dark fruit flavors and good concentration over a fine mineral core and tannins that are more crushed velvet than silken, and this has fine fresh acidity and nice lift on the finale. There are plenty of layers here even if full expressiveness is implied at this point. This is a lovely Chambolle "villages" and ought to shine with 3-5 years in the cellar and beyond. John McIlwain
From 50+ year-old vines in the upper part of the Clos (Lieu-dit "Montiotes"). Terroir pebbly clay/limestone. 12 btls available.
A new 1er for me. Apparently Les Vallerots is a near monopoly of Chantal Lescure per Jasper Morris. Dark ruby robe. The nose is a bit inscrutable on opening; with air, notes of black raspberry, plum, cherry pit emerge with a faint whiff on anise. The mid-weight palate is also a bit reserved, though it blossoms to reveal flavors of ripe raspberry, blood orange zest, mustard seed and pomegranate. There’s a fine sense of brisk acidity and stoniness—Les Vallerots is on top of the slope above the center of the village—lending energy to the wine through the mid-palate and on to the finish. There’s great flair here if you allow this to open up. The intersection of fruit and earth is compelling and satisfying; high altitude Nuits-Saint-Georges in character. If drinking now, decant for a few hours or better yet, cellar for 3-5 years. John McIlwain
From the village portion of Les Damodes on the Vosne side of Nuits St. Georges, long-time organic farming, minimal use of SO2. The 2017 "Les Damodes" shows a bright red/black color with very floral aromas of black cherry and strawberry liqueur, with hints of mint, licorice and brown spice. There is deep black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit on the palate which is chalky, round and ripe and is nicely balanced by bright acidity, a bit of tannin and a hint of oak. This opens up with aeration becoming more complex, with pretty red fruits lingering in the finish. Quite delicious now, this will show best in 5 to 8 years when the tannins and oak have integrated. David Lillie
2017 Les Suchots. A bit backwards on opening, mostly showing forest floor and tart berries. But with air, the nose unfurls to offer effusive aromas of wild raspberry, blackberry liqueur, and crushed rose petals. The palate is generous and coltish with ripe flavors of Bing cherry, turned earth, and exotic spices, with good density and a fine core of minerality. Not quite as nervy as the 2016, but this has fine balance, ripe tannins, and sneaky persistence. Delicious with guinea hen in a red wine sauce with mushrooms over grits. But I can see enjoying this with gamier fare. This shows plush fruit and savory soil notes and should gain in complexity with a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
Julien Cruchandeau continues to quietly impress in 2018. This Hautes-Cotes de Nuits comes from two parcels with quite rocky soils and steep slopes above the village of Nuits St. Georges. 2018 was warm throughout Burgundy and the fruit profile is ripe and a touch darker than in past years, leaning into black cherry and plum skin. Combined with the high percentage of whole bunches during fermentation, which lend spice and structure and the first impression is a formidable wine, perhaps even standoff-ish. However, with a few minutes of air, that brawn starts to recede and the acidity and a salty character come to the fore. The fruit lightens to a more classic red character and gains lift and energy. This is a wine that rewards attention with complexity. Give it a little decant if you drink it tonight or stow a couple away for three to five years. Sam Ehrlich
Marsannay has historically been the loneliest of stepchildren among the villages of Burgundy. There are no classed vineyards and its northerly location made achieving ripeness a challenge in difficult vintages. But the current crop of Burgundy fanatics know that Marsannay is a hotbed of innovation and that the best domaines are as great as any in the region when it comes to producing wines of terroir. Laurent Fournier may not be the household name that his best friend Sylvain Pataille is, but the wines at Fournier are just as distinct and great as those of Pataille. The 2017 Cuvee Saint Urbain comes from vines planted largely in 1975, vinified with about 25% whole clusters and aged in wood (15% new) and concrete. It's a clear perfect snapshot of Marsannay, full of juicy red and blue fruit, a touch of baking spice, hoisin and a cool mineral spine. But then there is the lift and buoyancy of the lovely '17 vintage - the wine is full of energy, even weightless, making not only satisfying but fun to drink. I dare you not to finish the bottle in one sitting. Sam Ehrlich
The 2016 Faiveley Clos de Bèze already offers a dazzling array of dark and red fruits, wild berries, pure cherry, and turned earth on the nose. The concentrated palate offers spicy cherry and plum flavors with notes of game, mustard seed, and black tea over a layered and dense mineral core of impressive length and complexity giving way to a long, detailed, stony finish. This will take the better part of a decade to integrate all of its elements, but should provide rewarding drinking for the patient. Excellent Clos de Bèze. John McIlwain
From low-yielding vines located in Comblanchien (probably more famous for its quarries and eponymous limestone than viticulture), planted in the 1960s by Antoine Lienhardt's grandfather. Les Essards is a short distance from another of Antoine's lieux dits, Les Plantes Aux Bois. There is a thin layer of rocky clay topsoil over Comblanchien limestone and the vine rows run from east to west. The nose is floral and expressive with red fruits, wild strawberry, wild roses, hibiscus, blood orange peel, and green tea aromas. The palate is tense and nervy, with tangy red fruit, brambly wild raspberry flavors, and a taut, chalky mineral core. Just this side of tightly wound, this is energetic and displays verticality and brio offering concentration, rather than weight or breadth. I like the brightness here and even in its youth, there’s plenty of nascent complexity, even if it’s implied rather than realized. Give this a quick decant and enjoy with roasted chicken, grilled salmon, or wild mushroom risotto. John McIlwain
A mere 200 meters from Les Essards, Les Plantes Aux Bois has clay top soils overlying the hard limestone mother rock. The nose is ample, perfumed, and dark-fruited with aromas of black currant and plum skin giving way to notes of bosky underbrush and spice. Flavors of blackberry, cassis, and elderberry dominate on the ripe, expansive palate. There is good freshness, with fine acidity providing lift and drive on the broad, long, lingering finish. Lovely with a quick decant, but there's plenty of material to justify mid-term cellaring. Light on its feet with good freshness to wake the palate, but enough minerality to whet the appetite of the discerning Burgundy aficionado. One really senses the richness from the clay soils from this lieu-dit. John McIlwain
'Les Bussières' sits on the border of Morey-St-Denis, just below the Premier cru 'Les Sentiers'. The vines were planted between 1948 and 1988. Coming from the border between Chambolle-Musigny and Morey-St- Denis lends this bottle a sense of both, the elegance of Chambolle and the savory structure of Morey-St-Denis.
From 50-80 year old vines from the 'Les Seuvrees' parcel located right below the Grand Cru Mazoyeres Chambertin.
Like the rest of the lineup, the 2016 Clos de la Roche from Lignier-Michelot is a wine of nearly startling intensity and purity. The nose is redolent of spicy red fruits, violets and roses, and earthy game aromas with layer after layer of soil notes. The perfectly ripe palate is a mélange of sweet, ripe, pure fruit dancing above a deeply-pitched mineral core of fantastically articulate detail. I love the balance of shimmering energy and mineral intensity here that carries through on the long, sophisticated, rising finish. This has great class and will benefit from 10-12 years in the cellar and beyond. A truly beautiful Clos de la Roche! John McIlwain
From 35-55 year-old vines below the village of Morey-Saint-Denis in deep clay soils, 50% Pinot Noir/50% Gamay (with the new AOC Coteaux Bourguignons replacing Borgogne Passetoutgrain and Bourgogne Rouge). Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts and aged 16 months in tonneaux and stainless steel vats, bottled unfined and unfiltered, about 150 cases made.This is a lovely and affordable Burgundy that shows a dark red/black color and deep aromas of cherry and black raspberry with earth and citrus notes. The palate shows a potpourri of berry fruits with herbal flavors and impressive length, finishing with juicy acidity. Drinking beautifully now, and over the next few years - buy a case and make this your "everyday" Burgundy. (The 2015, a similarly lovely wine, was featured in the NY Times "20 Under $20" of 9/21/17) David Lillie
The Morey-Saint-Denis "Grains Fins" is another new cuvée from Stephane Magnien, and it's an absolutely delicious wine! It's made from young vines of Pinot Fin, in the vineyards of "Bas-Chenevery" and "Crais-Gillon" on gravelly soils. There is a 12-month elevage in mostly old barrels, followed by 4 months in cuve inox - only 200 cases were made. The 2018 "Grains Fins" is a terrific wine, surprisingly structured, mineral and dense from these young vines - perhaps the smaller grapes of Pinot Fin brought a bit more grip to this generous vintage. The wine shows a bright deep red/black color, with vibrant aromas of blackberry, earth and ripe morello cherry, very floral, with hints of darker fruit and stone with a fabulous backbone of chalky minerals. The palate has nice grip and density with sappy red and black fruits, with a chalky texture, leading to a firm and very long, lush and mineral finish with hints of licorice and cherry pit. Enjoy this delicious wine in its vibrant youth, or wait a few years then drink until 2030-2035 David Lillie
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey. Ruby robe. The nose offers an intriguing contrast between floral aromas and gamy, sauvage notes. For every rose petal, there’s a contrasting earth tone. The tension is compelling. On the palate ripe cherry and raspberry flavors are underlain by a pungent stoniness on a mid-weight, faintly tannic, but fresh, finish. This is delicious, if brambly, now but should gain in suavity with time in the bottle. I’d choose to pair this with something autumnal and savory. Pigéon? Pintade? Daube? John McIlwain
What a difference 2 kilometers makes! Bruno Dangin's Crémant de Bourgogne is made from 100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines in Molesme, located just beneath the southern border of Champagne's Aube.The limestone rich soils are the same as those of their pricier neighbor to the north. Boasting a fine bead and soft mousse and aromas of red fruits and autolyse, one would be hard pressed to spot the difference. The palate offers great depth, pure pinot fruit, and a suave, layered, persistent finish. This is a great value in bubbles and will grace the holiday table nicely. John McIlwain
Paul and Marie Jacqueson are third generation winemakers in the Côtes Chalonnaise carrying on their grandfather's tradition of crafting high-quality wines from Rully and Mercurey. Today the domaine consists of 13 hectares farmed using organic treatments, all hand-harvested. All of their reds are 100% destemmed and aged in 25% new oak for one year. The 'Champs Martin' shows an elegant balance between density of flavor and remaining light on its feet. The nose is a like a walk through a Burgundian forest; complete with tree bark, wild flowers, raspberry brambles and wild cherry, with a dash of fresh cinnamon for good measure. Lush and concentrated on the palate, but not the least bit weighted down. Michelle DeWyngaert
The 2018 "Chant de la Tour" comes from a single parcel that has never been treated with chemicals of any kind, which comes as little surprise based on what's in the bottle. This is my platonic ideal of Bourgogne Rouge. The pure red cherry and strawberry fruit is vivid and lush without being cloying. The expression of limestone is clear and speaks beautifully of the region, with a dustiness in the finish that reminds me of clapping blackboard erasers. Completely delicious.